Title:
Endoplasmic reticulum localization signals
United States Patent 8703905


Abstract:
The invention relates to cellular localization signals. In particular, the invention relates to endoplasmic reticulum localization signals in monomeric or multimeric form. The localization signals are utilized as research tools or are linked to therapeutics. Disclosed are methods of making and using polypeptides and modified polypeptides as signals to localize therapeutics, experimental compounds, peptides, proteins and/or other macromolecules to the endoplasmic reticulum of eukaryotic cells. The polypeptides of the invention optionally include linkage to reporters, epitopes and/or other experimental or therapeutic molecules. The invention also encompasses polynucleotides encoding the localization signals and vectors comprising these polynucleotides.



Inventors:
Reed, Thomas (Arlington, VA, US)
Application Number:
13/369649
Publication Date:
04/22/2014
Filing Date:
02/09/2012
Assignee:
Intrexon Corporation (Blacksburg, VA, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
435/69.1, 435/252.3, 435/254.1, 435/320.1, 536/23.1, 536/23.4
International Classes:
C07K14/00; C07H21/02; C07H21/04; C12N1/20; C12P21/06
View Patent Images:



Foreign References:
WO2005040336A22005-05-06DNA CLONING VECTOR PLASMIDS AND METHODS FOR THEIR USE
WO2005116231A12005-12-08METHODS FOR DYNAMIC VECTOR ASSEMBLY OF DNA CLONING VECTOR PLASMIDS
Other References:
Andersson, H., et al., “Protein targeting to endoplasmic reticulum by dilysine signals involves direct retention in addition to retrieval,” J. Biol. Chem. 274:15080-4, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, United States (1999).
Cocquerel, L., et al., “The transmembrane domain of hepatitis C virus glycoprotein El is a signal for static retention in the endoplasmic reticulum,” J. Virol 73:2641-9, American Society for Microbiology, United States (1999).
Fons, R., et al., “Substrate-specific function of the translocon-associated protein complex during translocation across the ER membrane,” J. Cell Biol. 160:529-39, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, United States (2003).
Gabathuler, R., et al., “The endoplasmic reticulum retention signal of the E3/19K protein of adenovirus type 2 consists of three separate amino acid segments at the carboxy terminus,” J. Cell Biol. 111 : 1803-10, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, United States (1990).
Honsho, M., et al., “Retention of cytochrome b5 in the endoplasmic reticulum is transmembrane and luminal domain-dependent,” J. Biol. Chem. 273:20860-6, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, United States (1998).
Ma, Y., et al., “A 15-residue bifunctional element in D-AKAP1 is required for both endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondrial targeting,” J. Biol. Chem. 277:27328-36, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, United States (2002).
Mitoma, J., et al., “The carboxy-terminal 10 amino acid residues of cytochrome b5 are necessary for its targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum,” Embo. J. 11:4197-203, Nature Publishing Group, United Kingdom (1992).
Mziaut, H., et al., “Targeting proteins to the lumen of endoplasmic reticulum using N-terminal domains of 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase and the 50-kDa esterase,” J. Biol. Chem. 274:14122-9, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, United States (1999).
Parker, A., et al., “Targeting of inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptors to the endoplasmic reticulum by multiple signals within their transmembrane domains,” J. Biol. Chem. 279:23797-805, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, United States (2004).
Pottekat, A., et al., “Subcellular localization and targeting of N-acetylglucosaminyl phosphatidylinositol de-N-acetylase, the second enzyme in the glycosylphosphatidylinositol biosynthetic pathway,” J. Biol. Chem. 279:15743-51, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, United States (2004).
Ren, Z., et al., “Cell surface expression of GluR5 kainate receptors is regulated by an endoplasmic reticulum retention signal,” J. Biol. Chem. 278:52700-9, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, United States (2003).
Szczesna-Skorupa, E., et al., “The juxtamembrane sequence of cytochrome P-450 2Cl contains an endoplasmic reticulum retention signal,” J. Biol. Chem. 276:45009-14, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, United States (2001).
Vainauskas, S., et al.. “Endoplasmic reticulum localization of Gaal and PIG-T, subunits of the glycosylphosphatidylinositol transamidase complex,” J. Biol. Chem. 280:16402-9, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, United States (2005).
Watanabe, R., et al., “PIG-A and PIG-H, which participate in glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchor biosynthesis, form a protein complex in the endoplasmic reticulum,” J. Biol. Chem. 271:26868-75, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, United States (1996).
Zarei, M., et al., “An endoplasmic reticulum trafficking signal prevents surface expression of a voltage- and Ca2+-activated K + channel splice variant,” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 101:10072-7, National Academy of Sciences, United States (2004).
Zarei, M., et al., “A novel MaxiK splice variant exhibits dominant-negative properties for surface expression,” J. Biol. Chem. 276:16232-9, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, United States (2001).
Primary Examiner:
Nashed, Nashaat
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox, P.L.L.C.
Parent Case Data:
This application claims benefit of priority to provisional application 60/826,517, filed 21 Sep. 2006.
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An isolated polypeptide localization signal comprising: (a) an amino acid sequence at least 90% identical to SEQ ID NO: 64; and (b) an amino acid sequence at least 90% identical to SEQ ID NO: 69; and (c) the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 72.

2. The isolated polypeptide localization signal of claim 1, wherein (a) is SEQ ID NO: 64 and (b) is SEQ ID NO: 69.

3. The isolated polypeptide localization signal of claim 1 or claim 2, wherein said polypeptide localization signal is linked to a polypeptide of interest, a macromolecule, or a therapeutic molecule.

4. The isolated polypeptide localization signal of claim 1, further comprising linker amino acids before or after the amino acid sequence that is at least 90% identical to SEQ ID NO: 64, between the amino acid sequence that is at least 90% identical to SEQ ID NO: 64 and the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 69, before or after the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 69, between the amino acid sequence that is at least 90% identical to SEQ ID NO: 69 and the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 72, or before or after the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 72.

5. The isolated polypeptide localization signal of claim 1 or claim 2, wherein said polypeptide is linked to an epitope tag, or a reporter.

6. An isolated polynucleotide encoding the isolated polypeptide localization signal of claim 1 or claim 2.

7. The isolated polynucleotide of 6, wherein said polypeptide localization signal further comprises linker amino acids before or after the amino acid sequence that is at least 90% identical to SEQ ID NO: 64, between the amino acid sequence that is at least 90% identical to SEQ ID NO: 64 and the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 69, before or after the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 69, between the amino acid sequence that is at least 90% identical to SEQ ID NO: 69 and the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 72, or before or after the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 72.

8. The isolated polynucleotide claim 1 or claim 2, wherein said polypeptide localization signal is linked to an epitope tag, or a reporter.

9. A vector comprising the polynucleotide of claim 6.

10. An isolated host cell comprising the vector of claim 9.

11. The vector of claim 9, further comprising an inducible promoter, and wherein said polynucleotide is operably linked to said inducible promoter.

12. The vector of claim 9, further comprising a tissue-specific promoter, and wherein said polynucleotide is operably linked to said tissue-specific promoter.

13. An isolated host cell comprising the vector of claim 9.

14. A method of localizing a polypeptide of interest to an endoplasmic reticulum compartment in a cell, said method comprising: (a) linking a polynucleotide sequence encoding a polypeptide open reading frame to the isolated polynucleotide of claim 6 to create a fusion protein coding sequence, (b) transfecting the fusion protein coding sequence into a host cell, and (c) culturing the transfected host cell under conditions suitable to produce the fusion protein.

Description:

REFERENCE TO SEQUENCE LISTING SUBMITTED ELECTRONICALLY VIA EFS-WEB

This application includes a “Sequence_Listing.txt,” 143,710 bytes, created on Nov. 12, 2013, and submitted electronically via EFS-Web, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF INVENTION

The invention relates to subcellular localization signals. In particular, the invention relates to endoplasmic reticulum localization signals in monomeric or multimeric form. The multimers may be homomultimers or heteromultimers. The monomers and multimers are utilized as research tools or are linked to therapeutics.

This application has subject matter related to application Ser. Nos. 10/724,532 (U.S. Pat. No. 7,071,295), 10/682,764 (US2004/0185556, PCT/US2004/013517, WO2005/040336), 11/233,246, and US2004057201 IP (WO2005116231). Each of these patents and applications is hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Drugs that act intracellularly generally enter cells by diffusion. Most drugs are small molecules because they have the ability to diffuse across plasma membranes or organelle membranes to reach their site of action. To increase the bioavailability of a drug, often small molecules must be modified and/or formulated for greater solubility and/or permeability, depending on route of administration. Even small diffusible drugs may not be efficacious at their site of action. For example, multidrug resistance (MDR) may be present, which results in active efflux of drugs that enter cells with MDR. MDR often occurs in cancer cells.

In contrast to small molecules, high molecular weight compounds and polymer drugs, such as polynucleotides, polypeptides, and other macromolecules have little to no ability to diffuse across membranes. High molecular weight material is generally internalized by endocytosis. The addition of affinity binding partners to high molecular weight material can direct the high molecular weight compound to specific cells, and thereby result in increased selective uptake. However, once endocytosed, the material still remains separated from the cellular cytoplasm by a biological membrane.

Endocytosed material is often delivered to the lysosome, where material sensitive to lysosomal enzymes is quickly degraded if steps are not taken to protect its breakdown or to facilitate escape from the lysosome. Delivery of high molecular weight compounds to their site of action at effective levels is a problem. It is therefore desirable to improve delivery to a desired subcellular compartment.

One of the first cellular trafficking signals identified was the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) retention signal, KDEL (SEQ ID NO: 75), which prevents secretion of proteins routed to the endoplasmic reticulum. When this signal is expressed toward the carboxy terminus in proteins that are normally secreted, these proteins are retained in the endoplasmic reticulum and not secreted (Munro and Pelham, Cell 1987, 48:899-907).

Endogenous and exogenous proteins have varying targeting domains within their primary sequence. Such proteins include those described in Andersson, et al. 1999 J Biol Chem 274:15080-4, Cocquerel, et al. 1999 J Virol 73:2641-9, Fons, et al. 2003 J Cell Biol 160:529-39, Gabathuler, et al. 1990 J Cell Biol 111:1803-10, Honsho, et al. 1998 J Biol Chem 273:20860-6, Ma, et al. 2002 J Biol Chem 277:27328-36, Mitoma, et al. 1992 Embo J 11:4197-203, Mziaut, et al. 1999 J Biol Chem 274:14122-9, Parker, et al. 2004 J Biol Chem 279:23797-805, Pottekat, et al. 2004 J Biol Chem 279:15743-51, Ren, et al. 2003 J Biol Chem 278:52700-9, Szczesna-Skorupa, et al. 2001 J Biol Chem 276:45009-14, Vainauskas, et al. 2005 J Biol Chem 280:16402-9, Watanabe, et al. 1996 J Biol Chem 271:26868-75, Zarei, et al. 2004 Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 101:10072-7, and Zarei, et al. 2001 J Biol Chem 276:16232-9.

An aspect of the invention is to provide novel monomeric and novel multimeric endoplasmic reticulum localization signals by modifying one or more proteins that naturally locate to the endoplasmic reticulum by truncation or by amino acid substitution. Truncations, amino acid substitutions, and other modifications of known ER-locating proteins are made to minimize endogenous biological activities other than localization. In general, the invention relates to cellular localization signals. More specifically, the invention relates to endoplasmic reticulum localization signals in monomeric or multimeric form. The multimers may be homomultimers or heteromultimers. Multimers are made to exploit cooperation and synergism among individual signals in order to create a chimeric localization signal with a strength and/or performance greater than the constituent individual parts. The monomers and multimers are utilized as research tools or are linked to therapeutics. Disclosed are methods of making and using polypeptides and modified polypeptides as signals to localize therapeutics, experimental compounds, peptides, proteins and/or other macromolecules to the endoplasmic reticulum and contiguous structures of eukaryotic cells. The polypeptides of the invention optionally include linkage to reporters, epitopes and/or other experimental or therapeutic molecules. The invention also encompasses polynucleotides encoding the localization signals and vectors comprising these polynucleotides.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF POLYPEPTIDE AND POLYNUCLEOTIDE SEQUENCES SEQ ID NOS:1-16 are example endoplasmic reticulum localization signals and polynucleotides encoding them.

Specifically, the polypeptide of SEQ ID NO:1 is encoded by SEQ ID NOS:2-6, wherein the codons of SEQ ID NOS:3-6 have been optimized for vector insertion. SEQ ID NO:4 and SEQ ID NO:6 include flanking restriction sites. SEQ ID NO:5 and SEQ ID NO:6 differ from SEQ ID NO:3 and SEQ ID NO:4, respectively, in that an internal EcoRI restriction has been removed. SEQ ID NO:1 is an embodiment of a multimeric ER localization signal of the structure A-S1-B-52-B-53-C, wherein A is SEQ ID NO:42, B is SEQ ID NO:72, and C is SEQ ID NO:75, and wherein 51 is a two amino acid spacer with the sequence EF, S2 is a four amino acid spacer with the sequence, PGAG (SEQ ID NO: 78), and S3 is a three amino acid spacer with the sequence, AAA. A multimeric localization signal of structure A-S1-B-52-B-53-C is also called herein a heteromultimer (see FIG. 4D).

SEQ ID NO:7 is an embodiment of a multimer of the structure X-S1-Y-S2-Y-S3, wherein X is SEQ ID NO:60, Y is SEQ ID NO:72, 51 is a seven amino acid spacer with the sequence EFGGGGG (SEQ ID NO: 79), S2 is a four amino acid spacer with the sequence PGAG (SEQ ID NO: 78), and S3 is a five amino acid spacer with the sequence AAPAA (SEQ ID NO: 80). The polypeptide of SEQ ID NO:7 is encoded by SEQ ID NOS:8-12, wherein the codons of SEQ ID NOS:9-12 have been optimized for vector insertion. SEQ ID NO:10 and SEQ ID NO:12 include flanking restriction sites. SEQ ID NO:9 and SEQ ID NO:10 differ from SEQ ID NO:11 and SEQ ID NO:12, respectively, in that an internal EcoRI restriction has been removed. A multimer of structure X-S1-Y-S2-Y-S3 is also called herein a heteromultimer (see FIG. 4E). A vector map of a vector containing SEQ ID NO:7 is shown in FIG. 11 (labeled Localization Signal). SEQ ID NO:7 was expressed in Cos7 cells as shown in FIG. 12.

SEQ ID NO:13 is an embodiment of a multimer of the structure X-S1-Y-S2-Y, wherein X is SEQ ID NO:60, Y is SEQ ID NO:72, S1 is a seven amino acid spacer with the sequence EFGGGGG (SEQ ID NO: 79), and S2 is a four amino acid spacer with the sequence PGAG (SEQ ID NO: 78). The polypeptide of SEQ ID NO:13 is encoded by SEQ ID NO:14, SEQ ID NO:15 and by SEQ ID NO:16, wherein the codons of SEQ ID NO:15 and SEQ ID NO:16 have been optimized for vector insertion. SEQ ID NO:16 includes flanking restriction sites. A multimer of structure X-S1-Y-S2-Y is also called herein a heteromultimer (see FIG. 4B).

SEQ ID NOS:17-38 are full length sequences of proteins that localize to the endoplasmic reticulum. These sequences have the following public database accession numbers: NP001007236, Q9Y2B2, CAA77776, AAQ19305, AAF81759, P00180, Q969N2, NP071581, NP003479, CAI20063, Q7M370, CAA23446, AAS89356, BAA19247, B34759, AAB97308, AAP35497, NP999425, NP999113, XP343784.

SEQ ID NOS:39-69 represent examples of monomeric endoplasmic reticulum localization signals. SEQ ID NOS:39-69 are subsequences of SEQ ID NOS:17-38, which represent examples of peptide sequences that confer endoplasmic reticulum routing and/or retention.

SEQ ID NOS:70-77 represent examples of monomeric endoplasmic reticulum retention signals.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1A-1D show examples of homomultimeric localization signals without spacers.

FIGS. 2A-2C show examples of homomultimeric localization signals with spacers.

FIGS. 3A-3E show examples of heteromultimeric localization signals without spacers.

FIGS. 4A-4E show examples of heteromultimeric localization signals with spacers.

FIGS. 5A-5H show examples of localization signals linked to an epitope tag.

FIGS. 6A-6H show examples of localization signals linked to a reporter.

FIGS. 7A-7H show examples of localization signals linked to an experimental or therapeutic polypeptide.

FIGS. 8A-8H show examples of localization signals linked to an epitope tag, and an experimental or therapeutic polypeptide.

FIGS. 9A-9H show examples of gene constructs where localization signals are linked to an experimental or therapeutic polypeptide, with an optional epitope tag and/or reporter.

FIGS. 10A-10D show examples of vectors containing endoplasmic reticulum localization signal gene constructs.

FIG. 11 shows a diagram of the vector used to transform the Cos7 cells of FIG. 12. Abbreviations are as follows: Neo stands for neomycin resistance gene; Amp stands for ampicillin resistance gene; on stands for origin of replication; P stands for promoter domain; E stands for expression domain; 3 stands for 3′ regulatory domain.

FIG. 12 shows activity of the endoplasmic reticulum localization signal of SEQ ID NO:7. Cos7 cells were transfected with DNA from the vector shown in FIG. 11. The green color identifies the location of antibodies which recognize the c-Myc epitope linked to chloramphenicol acetyltransferase fragment and the localization signal. The red color identifies the ER resident protein calreticulin. This image is a co-localization image, wherein yellow areas represent colocalization of red and green, and demonstrate the targeting of a polypeptide of interest (chloramphenicol acetyltransferase fragment) to the endoplasmic reticulum using the localization signal of SEQ ID NO:7.

FIGS. 13 and 14 show activity of the endoplasmic reticulum localization signal of SEQ ID NO:1. COS7 African green monkey kidney cells were plated at 4,000 cells per square centimeter in a 24 well glass bottom plate (MatTek Cat. No. P24G-1.0-13-F) coated with poly-D-Lysine. The cells were grown in DMEM with 10% Fetal bovine serum at 37° C. for 24 hours. Plasmid DNA (0.4 ug) was introduced using CaPO4 (Invitrogen CaPO4 transfection kit), according to the manufacturer's protocol. After 24 hours, cells were washed twice with Ca2+/Mg2+-free PBS. The cells were fixed in ice-cold methanol (−20 C) for 5 minutes. Cells were then washed twice with PBS and incubated in a blocking solution of 8% bovine serum albumin (BSA) in PBS for 30 minutes. Primary antibody (mouse anti-FLAG M2 antibody from SigmaAldrich) was added at 2 μg/ml in a solution of PBS with 3% bovine serum albumin (BSA). After 2 h, the antibody was removed and the wells were rinsed 5×5 minutes with PBS. The last rinse was replaced with Goat anti-mouse secondary antibody conjugated to AlexaFluor 546 fluorescent dye. The antibody concentration was 200 ng/ml and was diluted in PBS with 3% BSA. After 45 minutes at room temperature and in the dark, the antibody was removed. Cells were rinsed three times in PBS, then incubated with 300 ng/mL DAPI containing PBS for 5 minutes. The cells were covered with Vectashield Mounting Medium (Vector Laboratories) before imaging.

The pictures in FIGS. 13 (vectorID-VVN8159) and 14 (vectorID-VVN8174) were generated using a Zeiss Axio-observer microscope fitted with an apotome structured light device and represent a magnification of 630× of a 500 nm slice through each group of cells. Pictures were taken with a set of red filters to visualize Alexa546 (excitation maximum 546 nm/emission maximum 608 nm) or blue filters (excitation maximum 365 nm/emission maximum 445 nm) to visualize the DAPI nuclear stain. The punctate and reticular patterns are indicative of ER staining, as is the exclusion of stain from the nucleus.

FIG. 15 shows a diagram of the vector used to transform the Cos7 cells of FIG. 13. Plasmid DNA vectors have the following architecture: VVN8159 contains a transgene with these components 5′ to 3′: PROMOTER (EFIalpha)-POLYPEPTIDE OF INTEREST (ERK1 decoy)-EPITOPE TAG (FLAG)-SEQ ID NO:1 (LOCALIZATION SIGNAL)-SV40PolyA. Abbreviations are as follows: Neo stands for neomycin resistance gene; Amp stands for ampicillin resistance gene; on stands for origin of replication; P stands for promoter domain; T stands for transcription domain; 3 stands for 3′ regulatory domain.

FIG. 16 shows a diagram of the vector used to transform the Cos7 cells of FIG. 14. Plasmid DNA vectors have the following architecture: VVN8174 contains a transgene with these components 5′ to 3′: PROMOTER (EFIalpha)-POLYPEPTIDE OF INTEREST (ERK1 decoy)-EPITOPE TAG (modified FLAG)-SEQ ID NO:1 (LOCALIZATION SIGNAL)-SV40PolyA. Abbreviations are as follows: Neo stands for neomycin resistance gene; Amp stands for ampicillin resistance gene; on stands for origin of replication; P stands for promoter domain; T stands for transcription domain; 3 stands for 3′ regulatory domain.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to monomeric or multimeric endoplasmic reticulum localization signals. Various embodiments of the endoplasmic reticulum localization signals are represented in SEQ ID NOS:1-77. More specifically, the invention relates to monomeric or multimeric localization signals that comprise any one or more of SEQ ID NOS:39-77. Additionally, the invention relates to monomeric or multimeric polypeptide localization signals comprising one or more subsequences of SEQ ID NOS:17-38 or any portion thereof. Furthermore, the invention relates to monomeric or multimeric polypeptide localization signals with at least about 80%, 85%, 90%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98% and 99% sequence identity to a polypeptide comprising one or more of SEQ ID NOS:39-77 or any portion thereof. Furthermore, the invention relates to monomeric or multimeric polypeptide localization signals with at least about 80%, 85%, 90%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98% and 99% sequence identity to a polypeptide comprising one or more subsequences of SEQ ID NOS:17-38.

Multimeric endoplasmic reticulum localization signals, which can be homomultimers or heteromultimers, are chimeric polypeptides composed of two or more monomers. An example of a monomeric localization signal is the polypeptide represented by SEQ ID NO:39. SEQ ID NO:39 is a selected subsequence of wild type full length SEQ ID NO:17. An example of a homomultimer is a polypeptide comprising a dimer or multimer of SEQ ID NO:39. An example of a heteromultimer is a polypeptide comprising SEQ ID NO:39 and one or more of SEQ ID NOS:40-77. There are numerous ways to combine SEQ ID NOS:39-77 into homomultimeric or heteromultimeric localization signals. Furthermore, there are numerous ways to combine additional subsequences of SEQ ID NOS:17-38 with each other and with SEQ ID NOS:39-77 to make multimeric localization signals.

The localization signals of the invention optionally comprise spacer amino acids before, after or between monomers. SEQ ID NO:13 is an example of a heteromultimer with the structure X-S1-Y-S2-Y, where X and Y are selected from SEQ ID NOS:39-77 and S1 and S2 are amino acid spacers. This invention intends to capture all combinations of homomultimers and heteromultimers without limitation to the examples given above or below. In this description, use of the term localization signal encompasses monomeric, homomultimeric, and/or heteromultimeric polypeptide localization signals.

A monomeric ER localization signal is a polypeptide where at least a portion of the polypeptide is capable of functioning as an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) routing signal and/or as an endoplasmic reticulum retention signal. An ER routing signal functions to direct a polypeptide to the ER, while a retention signal functions to retain the polypeptide in the ER or to prevent secretion of ER-localized polypeptides.

A multimeric localization signal comprises two or more monomeric localization signals.

A homomultimeric localization signal is a multimer where each of the monomers is identical in amino acid sequence.

A heteromultimeric localization signal is a multimer where some of the monomers are not identical in amino acid sequence.

One embodiment of the invention is a monomeric localization signal containing a polypeptide at least 80% identical to one of SEQ ID NOS:39-69.

Another embodiment of the invention is a heteromultimeric localization signal containing polypeptides at least 80% identical to two or more of SEQ ID NOS:39-69.

Another embodiment of the invention is a heteromultimeric localization signal containing two or more of SEQ ID NOS:70-77.

Another embodiment of the invention is a heteromultimeric localization signal containing polypeptides at least 80% identical to two or more of SEQ ID NOS:39-77.

Another embodiment of the invention is a heteromultimeric localization signal containing a polypeptide at least 80% identical to one or more of SEQ ID NOS:39-69 adjacent to one or more of SEQ ID NOS:70-77.

Another embodiment of the invention is a heteromultimeric localization signal containing a polypeptide at least 80% identical to one or more subsequences of SEQ ID NOS:17-38 adjacent to one or more of SEQ ID NOS:70-77.

Another embodiment of the invention is a heteromultimeric localization signal containing polypeptides at least 80% identical to two or more subsequences of SEQ ID NOS:17-38.

The localization signals of the invention are optionally linked to additional molecules or amino acids that provide an epitope, a reporter, and/or an experimental or therapeutic molecule. The epitope and/or reporter and/or experimental molecule and/or therapeutic molecule may be the same molecule. The epitope and/or reporter and/or experimental molecule and/or therapeutic molecule may also be different molecules. Experimental or therapeutic molecules include but are not limited to proteins and polypeptides. In one embodiment, a localization signal for tethering a protein or macromolecule of interest to the cyoplasmic face of the ER is made where the localization signal is placed toward the C-terminus of the resultant fusion protein (FIGS. 7A, 7C, 7E, 7H). In another embodiment, a localization signal for tethering a protein or macromolecule of interest to the cyoplasmic face of the ER is made where the localization signal is placed toward the N-terminus of the resultant fusion protein (FIGS. 7B, 7D, 7F, 7G).

The invention also encompasses polynucleotides comprising nucleotide sequences encoding endoplasmic reticulum localization signals. The nucleic acids of the invention are optionally linked to additional nucleotide sequences encoding polypeptides with additional features, such as an epitope, a reporter, an experimental and/or therapeutic molecule. The polynucleotides are optionally flanked by nucleotide sequences comprising restriction endonuclease sites and other nucleotides needed for restriction endonuclease activity. The flanking sequences optionally provide unique cloning sites within a vector and optionally provide directionality of subsequence cloning. Further, the nucleic acids of the invention are optionally incorporated into vector polynucleotides. The localization signals of this invention have utility in compositions for research tools and/or therapeutics.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to endoplasmic reticulum localization signals. Various embodiments of the localization signals are represented by SEQ ID NOS:1-77. Multimeric localization signals are chimeric polypeptides comprising two or more monomeric localization signals. An example of a monomeric localization signal is the polypeptide represented by SEQ ID NO:39. SEQ ID NO:39 is a selected subsequence of wild type full length SEQ ID NO:17. Another example of a monomeric localization signal is the polypeptide represented by SEQ ID NO:68. Each of SEQ ID NOS:39-77 represents an individual localization signal in monomeric form. SEQ ID NOS:39-69 are selected examples of subsequences of SEQ ID NOS:17-38, however, other subsequences of SEQ ID NOS:17-38 may also be utilized as monomeric localization signals. Monomeric subsequences of SEQ ID NOS:17-38 may be wild type subsequences. Additionally, monomeric subsequences of SEQ ID NOS:17-38 may have some amino acids different than the wild type parent. Furthermore, monomeric localization signals may have 80%, 85%, 90%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98% or 99% sequence identity to a polypeptide comprising one or more of SEQ ID NOS:39-77. Furthermore, monomeric localization signals may have 80%, 85%, 90%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98% and 99% sequence identity to a subsequence of SEQ ID NOS:17-38.

An example of a homomultimeric localization signal is a polypeptide comprising a dimer or multimer of SEQ ID NO:49. An example of a heteromultimeric localization signal is a polypeptide comprising SEQ ID NO:39 and one or more of SEQ ID NOS:40-77. There are numerous ways to combine SEQ ID NOS:39-77 into homomultimeric or heteromultimeric localization signals. Furthermore, there are numerous ways to combine additional subsequences of SEQ ID NOS:17-38 with each other and with SEQ ID NOS:39-77 to make multimeric localization signals.

Multimeric localization signals may comprise any two or more of SEQ ID NOS:39-77. A dimer or multimer of SEQ ID NO:66 is an example of a homomultimer. An example of a heteromultimer is a polypeptide comprising SEQ ID NO:77 and one or more of SEQ ID NOS:39-76. Another example of a heteromultimer is a polypeptide comprising SEQ ID NO:70 and one or more of SEQ ID NOS:39-69. Another example of a heteromultimer is a polypeptide comprising SEQ ID NO:72 and one or more of SEQ ID NOS:39-71. There are numerous ways to combine SEQ ID NOS:39-77 into homomultimeric or heteromultimeric localization signals. SEQ ID NOS:39-69 are selected examples of subsequences of SEQ ID NOS:17-38, however, additional subsequences, wild type or mutated, may be utilized to form multimeric localization signals. The instant invention is directed to all possible combinations of homomultimeric and heteromultimeric localization signals without limitation.

SEQ ID NOS:17-38 represent full length sequences of proteins that have endoplasmic reticulum localization activity. SEQ ID NOS:39-69 are subsequences of SEQ ID NOS:17-38 that are capable of conferring endoplasmic reticulum localization. SEQ ID NOS:70-77 are amino acid sequences that confer endoplasmic reticulum retention. Polypeptide subsequences that are identical to their wild type parent may be used as part of a localization signal, however in one embodiment some amino acids are mutated to another amino acid, such as one of the naturally occurring amino acids including, alanine, aspartate, asparagine, cysteine, glutamate, glutamine, phenylalanine, glycine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, proline, arginine, valine, tryptophan, serine, threonine, or tyrosine. Mutation of amino acids may be performed for various reasons including, but not limited to, minimization of undesired biological activity, introduction or removal of secondary structure in the polypeptide; disruption of protein/protein interaction; modification of charge, hydrophobicity, or stability of the polypeptide; and introduction or removal of restriction sites in the nucleic acid encoding the polypeptide. As shown by SEQ ID NO:7, FIG. 12 and Example 4 below, the localization signals of the invention are capable of directing polypeptides of interest to the endoplasmic reticulum of eukaryotic cells.

In general, endoplasmic reticulum localization signals are built by identifying proteins that localize to the endoplasmic reticulum. Sometimes it is desirable to utilize wild type truncations as building blocks. However, it is sometimes desirable to modify one or more amino acids to enhance the localization. Other reasons for modifying the wild type sequences are to remove undesired characteristics, such as enzymatic activity or modulation of an endogenous cellular function. Monomeric building blocks may include an endoplasmic reticulum localization sequence as well as amino acids adjacent and contiguous on either side. Monomeric building blocks may therefore be any length provided the monomer confers endoplasmic localization, routing and/or retention. For example, the monomer may comprise at least 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30-100 or more amino acids adjacent to the endoplasmic reticulum localization, routing or retention-conferring sequence.

For example, in one embodiment, the invention comprises an endoplasmic reticulum localization signal comprising at least one copy of a peptide selected from the group consisting of:

a) a peptide at least 80%, 85%, 90%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98% or 99% identical to a peptide comprising amino acid residues corresponding to amino acid residues 2338-2428 of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:17;

b) a peptide at least 80%, 85%, 90%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98% or 99% identical to a peptide comprising amino acid residues corresponding to amino acid residues 2341-2425 of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:17;

c) a peptide at least 80%, 85%, 90%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98% or 99% identical to a peptide comprising amino acid residues corresponding to amino acid residues 2349-2417 of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:17; and

d) a peptide at least 80%, 85%, 90%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98% or 99% identical to a peptide comprising amino acid residues corresponding to amino acid residues 2359-2407 of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:17.

In another embodiment, the invention comprises an endoplasmic reticulum localization signal comprising at least one copy of a peptide selected from SEQ ID NOS:70-77 and comprising at least one copy of a peptide selected from the group consisting of:

a) a peptide at least 80%, 85%, 90%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98% or 99% identical to a peptide comprising amino acid residues corresponding to amino acid residues 2338-2428 of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:17;

b) a peptide at least 80%, 85%, 90%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98% or 99% identical to a peptide comprising amino acid residues corresponding to amino acid residues 2341-2425 of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:17;

c) a peptide at least 80%, 85%, 90%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98% or 99% identical to a peptide comprising amino acid residues corresponding to amino acid residues 2349-2417 of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:17; and

d) a peptide at least 80%, 85%, 90%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98% or 99% identical to a peptide comprising amino acid residues corresponding to amino acid residues 2359-2407 of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:17.

As used herein, the terms “correspond(s) to” and “corresponding to,” as they relate to sequence alignment, are intended to mean enumerated positions within a reference protein, e.g., IP3 Receptor (SEQ ID NO:17), and those positions that align with the positions on the reference protein. Thus, when the amino acid sequence of a subject peptide is aligned with the amino acid sequence of a reference peptide, e.g., SEQ ID NO:17, the amino acids in the subject peptide sequence that “correspond to” certain enumerated positions of the reference peptide sequence are those that align with these positions of the reference peptide sequence, but are not necessarily in these exact numerical positions of the reference sequence. Methods for aligning sequences for determining corresponding amino acids between sequences are described below.

Additional embodiments of the invention include monomers based on any putative or real polypeptide or protein that has endoplasmic reticulum localization, routing or retention activity, such as those identified by SEQ ID NOS:39-77. Furthermore, if the protein has more than one localization subsequence, then more than one monomer may be identified therein.

Another embodiment of the invention is a nucleic acid molecule comprising a polynucleotide sequence encoding at least one copy of a localization signal polypeptide.

Another embodiment of the invention is a nucleic acid molecule wherein the polynucleotide sequence encodes one or more copies of one or more localization signal polypeptides.

Another embodiment of the invention is a nucleic acid molecule wherein the polynucleotide sequence encodes at least a number of copies of the peptide selected from the group consisting of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10.

Another embodiment of the invention is a vector comprising a nucleic acid molecule encoding at least one copy of an endoplasmic reticulum localization signal.

Another embodiment of the invention is a recombinant host cell comprising a vector comprising a nucleic acid molecule encoding at least one copy of an endoplasmic reticulum localization signal.

Another embodiment of the invention is a method of localizing a polypeptide to an endoplasmic reticulum subcellular compartment in a cell comprising linking a polypeptide open reading frame to a localization signal open reading frame to create a fusion protein coding sequence, and transfecting the fusion protein coding sequence into a host cell and culturing the transfected host cell under conditions suitable to produce at least one copy of the fusion protein.

Another embodiment of the invention is a method of delivering a therapeutic molecule to a subcellular location in a cell comprising transfecting a vector comprising a nucleic acid molecule encoding at least one copy of a localization signal linked to a therapeutic molecule into a host cell and culturing the transfected host cell under conditions suitable to produce at least one copy of the localization signal-containing therapeutic molecule.

The invention also relates to modified localization signals that are at least about 80%, 85%, 90% 95%, 96%, 97%, 98% or 99% identical to a reference polypeptide. A modified localization signal is used to mean a peptide that can be created by addition, deletion or substitution of one or more amino acids in the primary structure (amino acid sequence) of a localization signal protein or polypeptide. The terms “protein” and “polypeptide” and “peptide” are used interchangeably herein. The reference polypeptide is considered to be the wild type protein or a portion thereof. Thus, the reference polypeptide may be a protein whose sequence was previously modified over a wild type protein. The reference polypeptide may or may not be the wild type protein from a particular organism.

A polypeptide having an amino acid sequence at least, for example, about 95% identical to a reference an amino acid sequence is understood to mean that the amino acid sequence of the polypeptide is identical to the reference sequence except that the amino acid sequence may include up to about five modifications per each 100 amino acids of the reference amino acid sequence encoding the reference peptide. In other words, to obtain a peptide having an amino acid sequence at least about 95% identical to a reference amino acid sequence, up to about 5% of the amino acid residues of the reference sequence may be deleted or substituted with another amino acid or a number of amino acids up to about 5% of the total amino acids in the reference sequence may be inserted into the reference sequence. These modifications of the reference sequence may occur at the N-terminus or C-terminus positions of the reference amino acid sequence or anywhere between those terminal positions, interspersed either individually among amino acids in the reference sequence or in one or more contiguous groups within the reference sequence.

As used herein, “identity” is a measure of the identity of nucleotide sequences or amino acid sequences compared to a reference nucleotide or amino acid sequence. In general, the sequences are aligned so that the highest order match is obtained. “Identity” per se has an art-recognized meaning and can be calculated using published techniques. (See, e.g., Computational Molecular Biology, Lesk, A. M., ed., Oxford University Press, New York (1988); Biocomputing: Informatics And Genome Projects, Smith, D. W., ed., Academic Press, New York (1993); Computer Analysis of Sequence Data, Part I, Griffin, A. M., and Griffin, H. G., eds., Humana Press, New Jersey (1994); von Heinje, G., Sequence Analysis In Molecular Biology, Academic Press (1987); and Sequence Analysis Primer, Gribskov, M. and Devereux, J., eds., M Stockton Press, New York (1991)). While there exist several methods to measure identity between two polynucleotide or polypeptide sequences, the term “identity” is well known to skilled artisans (Carillo, H. & Lipton, D., Siam J Applied Math 48:1073 (1988)). Methods commonly employed to determine identity or similarity between two sequences include, but are not limited to, those disclosed in Guide to Huge Computers, Martin J. Bishop, ed., Academic Press, San Diego (1994) and Carillo, H. & Lipton, D., Siam J Applied Math 48:1073 (1988). Computer programs may also contain methods and algorithms that calculate identity and similarity. Examples of computer program methods to determine identity and similarity between two sequences include, but are not limited to, GCG program package (Devereux, J., et al., Nucleic Acids Research 12(i):387 (1984)), BLASTP, ExPASy, BLASTN, FASTA (Atschul, S. F., et al., J Molec Biol 215:403 (1990)) and FASTDB. Examples of methods to determine identity and similarity are discussed in Michaels, G. and Garian, R., Current Protocols in Protein Science, Vol 1, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (2000), which is incorporated by reference. In one embodiment of the present invention, the algorithm used to determine identity between two or more polypeptides is BLASTP.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the algorithm used to determine identity between two or more polypeptides is FASTDB, which is based upon the algorithm of Brutlag et al. (Comp. App. Biosci. 6:237-245 (1990), incorporated by reference). In a FASTDB sequence alignment, the query and subject sequences are amino sequences. The result of sequence alignment is in percent identity. Parameters that may be used in a FASTDB alignment of amino acid sequences to calculate percent identity include, but are not limited to: Matrix=PAM, k-tuple=2, Mismatch Penalty=1, Joining Penalty=20, Randomization Group Length=0, Cutoff Score=1, Gap Penalty=5, Gap Size Penalty 0.05, Window Size=500 or the length of the subject amino sequence, whichever is shorter.

If the subject sequence is shorter or longer than the query sequence because of N-terminus or C-terminus additions or deletions, not because of internal additions or deletions, a manual correction can be made, because the FASTDB program does not account for N-terminus and C-terminus truncations or additions of the subject sequence when calculating percent identity. For subject sequences truncated at the N- and C-terminal ends, relative to the query sequence, the percent identity is corrected by calculating the number of bases of the query sequence that are N- and C-terminus to the reference sequence that are not matched/aligned, as a percent of the total bases of the query sequence. The results of the FASTDB sequence alignment determine matching/alignment. The alignment percentage is then subtracted from the percent identity, calculated by the above FASTDB program using the specified parameters, to arrive at a final percent identity score. This corrected score can be used for the purposes of determining how alignments “correspond” to each other, as well as percentage identity. Residues of the query (subject) sequences or the reference sequence that extend past the N- or C-termini of the reference or subject sequence, respectively, may be considered for the purposes of manually adjusting the percent identity score. That is, residues that are not matched/aligned with the N- or C-termini of the comparison sequence may be counted when manually adjusting the percent identity score or alignment numbering.

For example, a 90 amino acid residue subject sequence is aligned with a 100 residue reference sequence to determine percent identity. The deletion occurs at the N-terminus of the subject sequence and therefore, the FASTDB alignment does not show a match/alignment of the first 10 residues at the N-terminus. The 10 unpaired residues represent 10% of the sequence (number of residues at the N- and C-termini not matched/total number of residues in the query sequence) so 10% is subtracted from the percent identity score calculated by the FASTDB program. If the remaining 90 residues were perfectly matched the final percent identity would be 90%. In another example, a 90 residue subject sequence is compared with a 100 reference sequence. This time the deletions are internal deletions so there are no residues at the N- or C-termini of the subject sequence which are not matched/aligned with the query. In this case the percent identity calculated by FASTDB is not manually corrected.

The multimeric localization signals of the invention optionally comprise spacer amino acids before, after, or between monomers (for example, FIGS. 2A-2C, 4A-4E). Additionally, the localization signals of the invention optionally comprise spacer amino acids before or after the localization signal (for example, FIGS. 2C, 4E, 5A, 5B, 5E, 5F, 6A, 6B, 6E, 6F, 7C, 7D, 7E, 7G, 8C, 8D, 8E, 8G and 8H). The length and composition of the spacer may vary. An example of a spacer is glycine, alanine, polyglycine, or polyalanine. In addition to providing space between monomers, spacers can be used for the purpose of engineering restriction sites in the encoding nucleic acid and can be used for modifying secondary structure of the polypeptide encoded. Specific examples of spacers used between monomers in SEQ ID NO:7 are the peptides EFGGGGG (SEQ ID NO: 79) and PGAG (SEQ ID NO: 78). In the instance of SEQ ID NO:7, the proline-containing spacer is intended to break an alpha helical secondary structure. At the C-terminal end of SEQ ID NO:7 is a five amino acid spacer with the sequence AAPAA (SEQ ID NO: 80). This particular spacer provides a linker to another module coding region such as a reporter, epitope or experimental or therapeutic polypeptide. The spacer amino acids may be any amino acid and are not limited to alanine, glycine and proline. The instant invention is directed to all combinations of homomultimers and heteromultimers, with or without spacers, and without limitation to the examples given above or below.

The localization signals of the invention are optionally linked to additional molecules or amino acids that provide an epitope, a reporter, and/or an experimental or therapeutic molecule (FIGS. 5A-5H, 6A-6H, 7A-7H, 8A-8H). Non-limiting examples of epitope are FLAG™ (Kodak; Rochester, N.Y.), HA (hemagluttinin), c-Myc and His6. Non-limiting examples of reporters are alkaline phosphatase, galactosidase, peroxidase, luciferase and fluorescent proteins. Non-limiting examples of experimental proteins are enzymes, enzyme binding partners, signalling factors, structural factors, and peptide ligands, metabolic binding factors, nucleic acid binding factors, and cellular binding factors. The epitopes, reporters and experimental or therapeutic molecules are given by way of example and without limitation. The epitope, reporter, experimental molecule and/or therapeutic molecule may be the same molecule. The epitope, reporter, experimental molecule and/or therapeutic molecule may also be different molecules.

Localization signals and optional amino acids linked thereto can be synthesized chemically or recombinantly using techniques known in the art. Chemical synthesis techniques include but are not limited to peptide synthesis which is often performed using an automated peptide synthesizer. Peptides can also be synthesized utilizing non-automated peptide synthesis methods known in the art. Recombinant techniques include insertion of localization signal encoding nucleic acids into expression vectors, wherein nucleic acid expression products are synthesized using cellular factors and processes.

Linkage of an epitope, reporter, experimental or therapeutic molecule to a localization signal can include covalent or enzymatic linkage. When the localization signal comprises material other than a polypeptide, such as a lipid or carbohydrate, a chemical reaction to link molecules may be utilized. Additionally, non-standard amino acids and amino acids modified with lipids, carbohydrates, phosphate or other molecules may be used as precursors to peptide synthesis. The localization signals of the invention have utility as therapeutic targeting molecules. Pure peptides represent embodiments of conventional peptide therapeutics. However, polypeptides or proteins linked to localization signals have utility as subcellular tools or therapeutics. For example, polypeptides depicted generically in FIGS. 7A-7H represent localization signals with utility as subcellular tools or therapeutics. Localization signal-containing gene constructs are also delivered via gene therapy. FIGS. 10B and 10C depict embodiments of gene therapy vectors for delivering and controlling polypeptide expression in vivo. Polynucleotide sequences linked to the gene construct in FIGS. 10B and 10C include genome integration domains to facilitate integration of the transgene into a viral genome and/or host genome.

FIG. 10A shows a vector containing an endoplasmic reticulum localization signal and fluorescent protein gene construct, wherein the gene construct is releasable from the vector as a unit useful for generating transgenic animals. For example, the gene construct, or transgene, is released from the vector backbone by restriction endonuclease digestion. The released transgene is then injected into pronuclei of fertilized mouse eggs; or the transgene is used to transform embryonic stem cells. The vector containing a localization signal and reporter gene construct of FIG. 10A is also useful for transient transfection of the transgene, wherein the promoter and codons of the transgene are optimized for the host organism. The vector containing a gene construct of FIG. 10A is also useful for recombinant expression of polypeptides in fermentable organisms adaptable for small or large scale production, wherein the promoter and codons of the transgene are optimized for the fermentation host organism.

FIG. 10D shows a vector containing an endoplasmic reticulum localization signal gene construct useful for generating stable cell lines.

The invention also encompasses polynucleotides comprising nucleotide sequences encoding monomeric localization signals and multimeric localization signals. The polynucleotides of the invention are optionally linked to additional nucleotide sequences encoding epitopes, reporters and/or experimental or therapeutic molecules. Further, the nucleic acids of the invention are optionally incorporated into vector polynucleotides. The polynucleotides are optionally flanked by nucleotide sequences comprising restriction endonuclease sites and other nucleotides needed for restriction endonuclese activity. The flanking sequences optionally provide cloning sites within a vector. The restriction sites can include, but are not limited to, any of the commonly used sites in most commercially available cloning vectors. Non-limiting examples of such sites are those recognized by NsiI, ApaL1, MfeI, KpnI, BamHI, ClaI, EcoRI, EcoRV, SpeI, AfIII, NdeI, NheI, XbaI, XhoI, SphI, NaeI, SexAI, HindIII, HpaI, and PstI restriction endonucleases. Sites for cleavage by other restriction enzymes, including homing endonucleases, are also used for this purpose. The polynucleotide flanking sequences also optionally provide directionality of subsequence cloning. It is preferred that 5′ and 3′ restriction endonuclease sites differ from each other so that double-stranded DNA can be directionally cloned into corresponding complementary sites of a cloning vector.

Localization signals with or without epitopes, reporters, or experimental or therapeutic proteins are alternatively synthesized by recombinant techniques. Polynucleotide expression constructs are made containing desired components and inserted into an expression vector. The expression vector is then transfected into cells and the polypeptide products are expressed and isolated. Localization signals made according to recombinant DNA techniques have utility as research tools and/or subcellular therapeutic delivery agents.

The following is an example of how polynucleotides encoding localization signals are produced. Complimentary oligonucleotides encoding the localization signals and flanking sequences are synthesized and annealed. The resulting double-stranded DNA molecule is inserted into a cloning vector using techniques known in the art. When the localization signals are placed in-frame adjacent to sequences within a transgenic gene construct that is translated into a protein product, they form part of a fusion protein when expressed in cells or transgenic animals.

Another embodiment of the invention relates to selective control of transgene expression in a desired cell or organism. The promoter portion of the recombinant gene can be a constitutive promoter, a non-constitutive promoter, a tissue-specific promoter (constitutive or non-constitutive) or a selectively controlled promoter. Different selectively controlled promoters are controlled by different mechanisms. For example, a tetracycline-inducible promoter is activated to express a downstream coding sequence when the cell containing the promoter and other necessary cellular factors is treated with tetracycline. When tetracycline is removed, gene expression is subsequently reduced. Other inducible promoters are activated by other drugs or factors. RheoSwitch® is an inducible promoter system available from New England Biolabs (Ipswich, Mass.). Temperature sensitive promoters can also be used to increase or decrease gene expression. An embodiment of the invention comprises a localization signal containing gene construct whose expression is controlled by an inducible promoter. In one embodiment, the inducible promoter is tetracycline inducible.

Monomeric and multimeric ER localization signals and methods of making these localization signals are disclosed. Below are examples of methods of using ER localization signals. In general, localization signals linked to epitopes, reporters, and other desired proteins or molecules are delivered via adenovirus, lentivirus, adeno-associated virus, or other viral constructs that express protein product in a cell.

Methods

Cellular localization is tested using one or more of the following techniques.

Fluorescence microscopy is employed to determine spatial cellular localization. Fluorescence microscopy involves autofluorescence of fluorescent proteins fused to localization signals of the invention. Alternatively, fluorescence microscopy involves immunofluorescence of antibodies directed against epitopes fused to localization signals. Anti-epitope antibodies are either directly linked to a fluorochrome or are used in combination with a fluorescent secondary antibody.

Known cellular structures and locations are comparatively illustrated with well known and/or commercially available stains, dyes, antibodies and/or other reagents that identify cellular locations. Such reagents include but are not limited to: DAPI, Hoechst stains, acridine orange, Lysotracker (Invitrogen, Carlsbad, Calif.), ERtracker (Invitrogen, Carlsbad, Calif.), Golgitracker (Invitrogen, Carlsbad, Calif.), Mitotracker (Invitrogen, Carlsbad, Calif.), anti-CD25, anti-myc, anti-OSBP, anti-NSF, anti-transferrin receptor, anti-T-cell transferrin receptor, anti-AP2 alpha subunit, anti-clathrin heavy chain, anti-lamin, anti-histone, anti-histone deacetylase, anti-p53, phalloidin-coumarin, phalloidin-FITC, phalloidin-phycoerythrin, anti-oxysterol binding protein, anti-nem sensitive factor, anti-gm130, anti-lamp 1, anti-lamp2, acridine orange nonyl bromide, anti-tac antigen, anti-Na/K-ATPase, and anti-EGF receptor (antibody producing hybridomas available from ATCC).

Electron microscopy is employed to determine location at higher magnifications. Slides of cells expressing localization signals fused to epitopes are prepared using techniques known in the art. Anti-epitope antibodies are either directly linked to a gold label or in combination with a gold-labeled secondary antibody.

Immunoblotting is employed to determine quantitative expression levels and/or to biochemically corroborate microscopic observations. Immunoblotting or western blotting is performed on whole cell lysates and/or on cells that have been fractionated by density gradient centrifugation. Antibodies useful for fraction identification by western blot include but are not limited to anti-lamin, anti-histone, anti-histone deacetylase, anti-p53, anti-oxysterol binding protein, anti-nem sensitive factor, anti-gm130, anti-lamp1, anti-Iamp2, anti-tac antigen, anti-caveolin-1 and anti-EGF receptor.

Epitopes for use in localization signal fusion proteins include hemagglutinin (HA), FLAG and Myc, among others. Specifically, localization signals fused to an epitope are expressed in Hela, HCTZ 16, HT1080, HCN1a, HCN2, SHSY5Y, ARPE19-HPV16 p5, U87-MG, C2Bbe1, HEK293, COS1, COS7, MDCK, C2C12, Sol8, P19, 10T1/2 and NIH3T3 (available from the ATCC). Anti-hemagluttinin antibodies and fluorescent secondary antibody are then employed to visualize location using standard methods such as those described in Giepmans et al. 2006 Science 312:217-24, incorporated by reference herein. For electron microscopy, methods such as those described in Ukimura et al. 1997 Am J. Pathol. 150:2061-2074 (incorporated by reference herein) are employed.

Alternatively, localization signals fused to a fluorescent protein are expressed in Hela, HCT116, HT 1080, HCN1a, HCN2, SHSY5Y, ARPE19-HPV16 p5, U87-MG, C2Bbe1, HEK293, COS 1, COS7, MDCK, C2C12, Sol8, P19, 10T1/2 and NIH3T3 (available from the ATCC). Location is visualized using standard methods such as those described in Giepmans et al. 2006 Science 312:217-24, incorporated by reference herein.

For immunoblot analysis, cellular fractions are obtained by taking cells expressing localization signals fused to a hemagluttinin epitope, and lightly homogenizing them, for example, in a Dounce homogenizer. Homogenized cells are then subjected to density gradient centrifugation as is known in the art and described in Current Methods in Cell Biology (Volume 1, Chapter 3, pages 3.0.1-3.11.22, Bonafacino et al. editors) (incorporated by reference herein). Fractions from the density gradient centrifugation are then electrophoresed on an acrylamide gel and subsequently transfered to a membrane electrophoretically. The membrane is then probed with appropriate anti-hemagluttinin antibodies and/or antibodies to known proteins. By comparing the gel lanes showing an anti-hemagglutinnin signal to gel lanes showing antibody signals of known proteins, cellular location of a localization signal of the invention is determined biochemically.

EXAMPLES

Example 1

A polypeptide comprising a multimeric endoplasmic reticulum localization signal and an epitope is synthesized. The structure of such a polypeptide is generically represented by FIG. 5C. The polypeptide is synthesized on an automated peptide synthesizer or is recombinantly expressed and purified. Purified polypeptide is solubilized in media and added to cells. Verification is performed by visualization of antibody binding to the epitope.

Example 2

A transgene is constructed using a human cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter to direct expression of a fusion protein comprising SEQ ID NO:64, SEQ ID NO:69, and SEQ ID NO:72 (LOCALIZATION SIGNAL) and green fluorescent protein (REPORTER). Such a transgene is generically represented by FIG. 9G. The transgene is transfected into cells for transient expression. Verification of expression and location is performed by visualization of the fluorescent protein by confocal microscopy.

Example 3

A transgene construct is built to produce a protein product with expression driven by a tissue-specific promoter. The transgene comprises a synthetic gene expression unit engineered to encode three domains. Each of these three domains is synthesized as a pair of complimentary polynucleotides that are annealed in solution, ligated and inserted into a vector. Starting at the amino-terminus, the three domains in the expression unit are nucleotide sequences that encode a kinase inhibitor, a FLAG epitope, and an endoplasmic reticulum localization signal. The localization signal is a monomeric, homomultimeric, or heteromultimeric localization signal as described herein. Nucleotide sequences encoding a FLAG epitope are placed downstream of nucleotide sequences encoding the kinase inhibitor. Finally, nucleotide sequences encoding the localization signal are placed downstream of those encoding the FLAG epitope. The assembled gene expression unit is subsequently subcloned into an expression vector, such as that shown in FIG. 10A, and used to transiently transfect cells. Verification is performed by microscopic visualization of the epitope immunoreactivity at the endoplasmic reticulum.

Example 4

Subcellularly localized chloramphenicol acetyltransferase fragment was demonstrated in the endoplasmic reticulum of Cos7 cells using a transgene construct containing an endoplasmic reticulum localization signal, a c-Myc eptitope, and a chloramphenicol acetyltransferase fragment (non-enzymatic) was made. The expression unit contains nucleotides that encode an endoplasmic reticulum localization signal SEQ ID NO:7 (LOCALIZATION SIGNAL), a c-Myc epitope (EPITOPE), and a fragment of chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (POLYPEPTIDE OF INTEREST). This expression unit is subsequently subcloned into a vector between a CMV promoter and an SV40 polyadenylation signal (FIG. 11). The completed transgene-containing expression vector was then used to transfect Cos7 cells. FIG. 12 illustrates the subcellular colocation (yellow) of the c-Myc epitope (green) with calreticulin (red). In the presence of the localization signal, chloramphenicol acetyltransferase fragment is located at the endoplasmic reticulum.

Additionally, subcellularly localized polypeptide of interest was demonstrated in the endoplasmic reticulum of Cos7 cells using a transgene construct containing an endoplasmic reticulum localization signal, a FLAG (or modified FLAG) eptitope, and an ERK decoy polypeptide of interest. The expression unit of the transgene contains nucleotides that encode an ERK decoy (POLYPEPTIDE OF INTEREST), a FLAG (or modified FLAG) tag (EPITOPE), and endoplasmic reticulum localization signal SEQ ID NO:1 (LOCALIZATION SIGNAL). This expression unit was subsequently subcloned into a vector between an EF1alpha promoter and an SV40 polyadenylation signal (FIG. 15, FIG. 16). The completed transgene-containing expression vector was then used to transfect Cos7 cells. FIGS. 13 and 14 illustrate the subcellular location (red) of the FLAG (or modified FLAG) epitope.

Example 5

Fluorescent protein localization is demonstrated in vivo by making a transgene construct used to generate mice expressing a fusion protein targeted to the endoplasmic reticulum. The transgene construct is shown generically in FIG. 10B. The expression unit contains nucleotides that encode a dimer of SEQ ID NO:49 (LOCALIZATION SIGNAL) and green fluorescent protein (POLYPEPTIDE). This expression unit is subsequently subcloned into a vector between nucleotide sequences including a mammalian promoter and an SV40 polyadenylation signal. The completed transgene is then injected into pronuclei of fertilized mouse oocytes. The resultant pups are screened for the presence of the transgene by PCR. Transgenic founder mice are bred with wild-type mice. Heterozygous transgenic animals from at least the third generation are used for the following tests, with their non-transgenic littermates serving as controls.

Test 1: Southern blotting analysis is performed to determine the copy number. Southern blots are hybridized with a radio-labeled probe generated from a fragment of the transgene. The probe detects bands containing DNA from transgenic mice, but does not detect bands containing DNA from non-transgenic mice. Intensities of the transgenic mice bands are measured and compared with the transgene plasmid control bands to estimate copy number. This demonstrates that mice in Example 4 harbor the transgene in their genomes.

Test 2: Tissues are prepared for microscopic analysis. This experiment demonstrates the transgene is expressed in tissues of transgenic mice because green fluorescent protein is visualized in transgenic tissues but not in non-transgenic tissues.

These examples demonstrate delivery of molecules to a localized region of a cell for therapeutic or experimental purposes. The purified polypeptide localization signals linked to therapeutics can be formulated for oral or parenteral administration, topical administration, or in tablet, capsule, or liquid form, intranasal or inhaled aerosol, subcutaneous, intramuscular, intraperitoneal, or other injection; intravenous instillation; or any other routes of administration. Furthermore, the nucleotide sequences encoding the localization signals permit incorporation into a vector designed to deliver and express a gene product in a subcellular compartment. Such vectors include plasmids, cosmids, artificial chromosomes, and modified viruses. Delivery to eukaryotic cells can be accomplished in vivo or ex vivo. Ex vivo delivery methods include isolation of the intended recipient's cells or donor cells and delivery of the vector to those cells, followed by treatment of the recipient with the cells. The invention encompasses transgenes comprising localization signals and non-human transgenic organisms harboring these transgenes. The transgenes may be under the control of inducible promoters or tissue-specific promoters.

Disclosed are endoplasmic localization signals and methods of making and using these localization signals. The localization signals are synthesized chemically or recombinantly and are utilized as research tools or as therapeutic delivery agents. The invention includes linking molecules to cellular localization signals for subcellular therapeutics.